Nipponzan Myohoji (Budha Temple)
Worlinaka, a suburb of Mumbai has a Japanese history. There is a Nipponzan Myohoji or the Japanese Buddhist Temple on Dr. E Moses Road. It was constructed following the prophecy of Japanese monk, Mahabodhisatva Nicherin. Nichida Tsu Fujii or Fuji Guruji, founder of the Nippozan Myohoji order, founded the temple in 1952.
Today the temple is looked after by Bhikshu Morita, the resident monk, who’s been in India for over 30 years. He oversees things inside this temple. It is now maintained by the Birla family. Recent renovations to the temple was funded by the Birla family I was told.
Temple from outside the gate.
It is a structure of stone and marble. A Buddhist visitor to the temple told that this is the biggest Buddha Vihara temple in Mumbai. This temple is a new one. The older one is now a Dharamshala, a kindergarten school for poor kids. The temple is visited by people of all faiths and ethnicities. Hindus, Parsis, Christians, Dalits, Tibetans, Chinese, and many others. The reason behind the founding of the temple is that Maha Bodhisattva Nicherin, a Japanese monk, a hundred years ago said that the hope for humanity lies in India.
This inscription tempts me to learn to Japanese.
The walls of the temple are etched with artwork that depict the life of the Buddha.
This newspaper page shows the devastation that hit the city in the 1993 communal riots in Mumbai. Such riots should never have happened and should never happen again. There is a picture of a Buddhist monk standing in the middle of the street asking for peace. The picture of the monk is in the middle.
A media mention of the temple.
Another media mention of the temple. Mumbai is more peaceful these days. This temple has always called for peace. Mahatma Gandhi too had a connection with this temple.
Inside of the temple. It has artwork on the walls, and on the ceiling. The place is calm and will relax your senses.
The Buddha in the sanctum.
Some artifacts of the temple.
This may be the book the priest reads from. Every morning, and in the evening the priests read the Daimoku chant, or the mantra.
Another lesser known site is the Japanese graves. Nippojin Bochi, the cemetery is the last resting place of the geishas, or Japanese prostitutes. The geishas came to the city during the early 1910s along with Japanese businessmen.